July 11 marks four months since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that slammed Japan’s coastline. The natural disaster claimed thousands of lives, wrecked massive damage and caused a disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Even though the initial trauma may be over, there is still much rebuilding and emotional recovery to be done. This was the impetus behind StillforJapan, a website that asks people around the world to observe a minute of still contemplation.
Please consider donating a moment to the people of Japan, to let them know that they are not alone!]]>
I want to thank you for supporting Mercy Corps through your fundraising efforts while we respond to the recent earthquake and disaster in Japan.
My colleague Joy Portella, Communications Director, who was in Japan reports:
I’ve just returned from the area and can tell you firsthand what a difference your gift is making to the survivors.
During my time in Japan I saw tremendous resilience. But I also saw overwhelming sadness and need. One image still haunts me. Amid a field of rubble as far as the eye could see, I spotted an older man sitting on a log in front of a roaring fire. He was blankly staring into the distance, not moving.
I introduced myself. He pointed sadly to a pile of debris and explained that’s where his house used to be. Now his family is staying with a neighbor. His children are having nightmares and he doesn’t know how to ease their fear.
As I listened to this survivor, I was so grateful that Mercy Corps is there to help him and his family with programs like Comfort for Kids.
Japan’s earthquake and tsunami didn’t just topple buildings they shook lives. Japan’s children are among those most affected by displacement and disaster.
Today, you can send a caring message to those children, letting them know you support them in their time of need. It only takes a few minutes to write a few words that will mean the world to them.
Mercy Corps is launching our Comfort for Kids program in devastated areas of Japan to help the youngest survivors overcome their trauma. We will train parents, teachers and other caregivers how to guide kids through the healing process. Right now you can be a part of that: please take a moment to reach out and tell a child that you care about them.
All of us at Mercy Corps are especially thankful for people like you who have reached into your hearts and called on your community to help. Together, we’ll help these courageous people through their time of need.]]>
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The main effect of Thursday’s 7.1 aftershock is that most of the area is still without electricity. As a result, on Friday most shops were closed or their stock was in short supply, so people lacked food and supplies, and evacuees in temporary shelters spent the day in darkness. No trains were running. These hardships, combined with the fears and anxieties triggered by the major aftershock and frequent smaller aftershocks, continue to make life difficult for survivors, as well as for responders.
…Malka Older — who is working on our economic recovery efforts — yesterday went to Oshima, an island in the bay of Kesennuma. They had just gotten electricity back the day before yesterday and then it went out again with the new earthquake. She reports that some people said yesterday’s earthquake felt stronger than the tsunami earthquake, and she saw some minor additional damage (broken windows, etc) but as far as she could tell nothing major had gone down.
You can also find additional coverage on the aftershock’s aftermath on MSNBC.com.]]>
On a slightly different but related note – The Atlantic recently published a stunning collection of photographs titled “Japan Earthquake: One Month Later.” Devastating yet hopeful, these captioned photos are all incredibly moving and definitely worth a look.
We were going to unload the remainder of the goods at the elementary school, but first Peace Winds Japan wanted to confer with the head of the school about a movie night they are planning for the kids with a screening of “Tonari no Totoro,” a wonderful film by Miyazaki Hayao. The snow had stopped and the sun had come out, and across the sports ground I could see the line for the curry lunch snaking back from the tent.
…By the time we came out of the gym the sun had disappeared and the snow was falling fast and thick again. I stopped on the way to the car to look at the temporary bath the Japanese Defense Forces had set up, and the women huddled in their winter coats waiting for their turns.
The snow was falling harder, and sticking to the ground. In front of me the line for lunch rations stretched longer. The evacuees, the volunteers, the army, Peace Winds, all of us were trying to make the evacuation camp as comfortable as possible, but nothing we did could hide the fact that these people’s homes were gone.
More recommended reading:
The 360Cities panorama site has a hair-raising pano of the earthquake damage to Rikuzen-Takada in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture — a whole town reduced to flinders and rubble.
Damage in Rikuzen-Takada, Iwate Pref. (12) in Japan